Despite ongoing allegations to the contrary, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was completely cleared by the Internal Revenue Service in February 1999 of politically driven allegations that he earned money by teaching a college course that was partisan rather than educational.
The mainstream media, which had devoted hours of television coverage and acres of newsprint to the accusations, virtually ignored the subsequent ruling that neither he nor the nonprofit organizations that sponsored the classes had done anything wrong, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
CNN and The Associated Press were among the media outlets that reported on the IRS finding. CNN produced a solid news segment that laid out the facts of the case—and the IRS exoneration of Gingrich. CNN’s reporter Brooks Jackson – now director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s influential FactCheck.org – made it clear that the IRS was adamant in its view that Gingrich had done nothing wrong.
In his report, which ran at a little under two-and-a-half minutes, Jackson started by saying, “It was legal after all. Newt Gingrich’s oh-so-controversial college course that he started back in 1993 before he was speaker.
“Remember how Democrats denounced it,” added Jackson, before cutting to clips of Reps David Bonior, D-Mich., and John Lewis, D-Ga, attacking Gingrich.
“Tax fraud? Well, never mind,” said Jackson. “After a three-and-a-half year examination, the Internal Revenue Service – Bill Clinton’s IRS – has issued an official finding. No violation of tax laws.
“Critics said the course, which was videotaped and widely distributed, was too political, a scheme to use a tax-exempt educational foundation to promote a Republican agenda and elect Republican candidates. But in a 74-page memorandum, the IRS said otherwise,” Jackson reported.
He then quoted the IRS report: “The…course taught principles from American civilization that could be used by each American in everyday life whether the person is a welfare recipient, the head of a large corporation, or a politician.”
It said the course “was not biased toward particular politicians or a particular party. The facts show the class was much more than a political platform,” added Jackson.
Gingrich had already quit the House and paid $300,000 to settle claims that he had made misleading statements during an ethics committee investigation.
“When he settled those charges, Gingrich also agreed he should have sought better legal advice about the course,” reported CNN’s Jackson.
“But it turns out he was right and those who accuse him of tax fraud were wrong.”
Editor’s Note: To see the full video of the report, Click Here Now and scroll to the bottom of the page.
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